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Peregrinations Mexico and Central America on Motorcycle: Open road, open heart, open mind.

The official beginning of the trip

USA | Tuesday, 14 September 2010 | Views [2512] | Comments [2]

Got it!

Got it!

Buying a motorcycle is one thing. A big thing, even! But anyone can buy a motorcycle and just leave it sitting around, riding it occasionally and never really going anywhere. 

I want to go somewhere.

And to that end, I began making modifications to my gorgeous Yamaha XT225 this week. 

For my first hands-on project, I wanted to take out the stock 15-tooth front sprocket, and replace it was a bigger 16-tooth front sprocket. This little modification would reduce my RPMs by 15/16ths, which, considering how much the engine complains at 60 mph, would be quite a boon for my highway-filled trip down south. 

It took a few tries to get going, since I had neither the proper tools nor sufficient time to really sit down and look at the bike. Fortunately, the guys on xt225.com were very helpful (possibly the biggest assist was pointing out that my XT225 manual would guide me most of the way and maybe even reduce the number of silly questions I posted to the forum). The other perk was the realization that, for my demographic, I'm a pretty mechanically-savvy girl. I know the names of a wide array of tools and how to use them, I can back up a single- or dual-axle trailer into any space and in any weather conditions, and I can always put things back together once I've taken them apart. 

First step, off came the casing over the sprocket, probably the most difficult stage of the process because the screws stripped with the tools that came with the bike, and I had to fall back on my bicycle toolkits to get those suckers out of there. What was underneath surprised me--gunk. Grease, dirt, black schmutz, small twigs. Ick. 

Next I loosened the drive chain, after checking the slack per the instructions in the manual and this website here. My drive chain was too tight, so I made a note to loosen it after install. 

The adjustment plates on either side of the rear axle are really easy to use, and each notch makes a remarkable difference in the tautness of the chain. Loosening was a piece of cake, and with all the slack, the sprocket plate and sprocket both came right out. Once they were out, I took a stick (yep, a stick) and pried out all the nasty gunk coating the inside of the casing. With some penetrating oil and a wire brush, I got the whole thing looking pretty darn good.

Then, in went the new sprocket, I swung the adjustment plates until the right slackness was achieved, and admired the final product. Ah, so shiny. 

During this little foray into motorcycle mechanics, I learned three very important things:

1. I cannot move my bike without my boots on. Tippy-toes just ain't enough. 

2. I need a center stand for this kind of stuff.

3. Grease gets everywhere. My right elbow, of all places, is still black. 

Later this week, after purchasing a siphon, I'll attempt to replace my stock gas tank with a nearly-double-in-volume 4.1 gallon Clarke tank. Until next time, over and out. 

Tags: mods, motorcycle, sprocket, xt225

Comments

1

Great article, with useful photos. I just got a 16 tooth sprocket to increase the top speed, by 1/16th = 6.3%, or 1/15th = 6.6%.
An RPM reduction of 15/16ths would equal 93.75%.

  Chump Aug 7, 2013 5:50 PM

2

Beautiful! Good luck.

  Ashwin Jan 31, 2014 5:51 PM

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